Last Month: March

Alhamdulillaah walopun ga ikut nyoblos di Pilkada Jakarta, tetap bisa ikutan menikmati libur untuk kedua kalinya. I think we deserved the day off yaah, for bearing with many tiring months of baper campaigns from both sides. Truly exhausting. I just really hope after the election people would let the system (and the elected governor) to work peacefully without spreading so much fear, hate, and anger any more.

Having that said, so far my day off is extremely peaceful. I woke up early, bought some nasi uduk for breakfast, then went to the local market with a housemate and bought some melon and bananas. I wanna stop being ripped off by other fruit sellers, eg. at the supermarket, at my office. Their price can be so unreasonable at times, my emak-emak soul is outraged! That’s why I need to stock up the fruits from the market on my day offs, though it means I need to get up and go there early in the morning. I did some exercise afterwards, some squats, push-ups, and a little bit of plank. At 9 I peacefully watched Gordon Ramsay’s home-cooking show while snacking on some banana, and that’s when I decide to pull out my laptop and start writing. I really really thrive in slow moments like this. Just some simple to-do list throughout the day, no fixed plans, and I can work to finish them at my own pace ❤

Ok then, let’s talk about last month.

Unlike February, March felt much more packed up and busy. One of the reasons is because the yearly personal income tax filing deadline falls on the end of March. As usual, I became a consultant for the whole family. Plus, one family member decided to go through the tax amnesty program. So it added up to the work I needed to do on my free time. Things ended up quite well, I think.

Speaking of exercise, last month I decided to stop my gym membership. I felt like I don’t utilize it as much as I used to, when I still had Anissa as my gym buddy after work. Lately it felt like a burden and I just went there like once a week max, sometimes not at all. Those money really could be spent elsewhere. After all, I don’t really use the gym equipments and don’t really get to know anyone new there. I just went, joined a class and went home straight afterwards. Nothing I can’t do at home. Not that I regret it. I do feel that the gym period forced me to think more positively about exercise, knowing the importance of putting it in our days, and meeting more passionate and fit people. Now that I quit the gym I’m determined to compensate. I now exercise at my room, with guidance from some of the famous and mainstream fitness instructors from the internet like Fitness Blender, blogilates, and Kayla Itsiness. I do some short strength training and low impact cardio almost everyday now, with a minimum of plank, push up, and squats on slow days (like this morning). Cardio is my biggest weakness, so I plan to run every once in a while to train for it (though I really can’t promise on anything that requires me to put on clothes and go out *sigh). My short term goal is to find my rhythm and then trying out the short HIIT trainings. I read that short HIIT for 2-3 times a week would be the most effective workout for fitness and weight loss.

Another highlight of March is one long weekend that allows my hubby to stay in Jakarta for a lil bit longer than usual. And it was sooo well spent, it just put a smile in my face everytime I remember it. I crossed all the to-do lists for the weekend (I’m such a sucker for to-do lists lately), including cooking for him for Monday fast suhoor and break. We had a lot of quality time, including went to the movies again to watch Kong: Skull Island after a while. It’s not always easy to find a movie that suits both our taste, exactly when we have the time and intentions to go. He would want a movie with at least a bit of action in it (forget La La Land or Beauty and the Beast), and I require a movie with a touch of drama or at least an interesting plot line (he liked the Raid, which is a big no no for me :D). Kong gave us some fun time, though it’s not perfect and kinda weak story-wise, but it was a treat to the eyes with the special effects and cinematography. I guess we’re too happy to list the movie’s flaws. There are some movies in the near future that we both want to see, such as the sequel of The Guardian of the Galaxy, and the Mummy. Really hope we can make it, with all these LDR schedules.

Speaking of movies, I finally get to watch Beauty and the Beast! And I enjoyed it. Although of course, the snobbish part of me still find its flaws and was not really satisfied. For me, some of the best songs, such as Be Our Guest and Something There just didn’t have as much soul as the animation. I ended up appreciating other songs more, such as Bonjour, Belle, and Gaston’s (!!) song. I also didn’t really get the Beast’s and Lumiere’s character. I thought their CGI expressions were too flat, I wished they could do better (Dan Stevens and Ewan McGregor wasted there!). Belle was a lil bit okay. But the most memorable was of course (despite the controversies) Josh Gad’s Le Fou, who brought in some of the movie’s most comical bits. Overall, I appreciate the effort to bring more background stories to the characters to make the love story more realistic, but apparently the movie needs more than just that.

Another movie I notably watched last month was Nicole Holofcener’s Friends with Money. It’s a comedy-drama about four women who are in a long lasting friendship, in which only one of them is not married nor financially well-off. I love how Holofcener just portray daily lives, with witty and interesting dialogues that felt naturally funny on scenes by scenes, to convey how money can bring awkwardness into friendship and relationships, with a touch of warmth, especially in the end. I liked it a lot, I ended up re-watch her other movie, Enough Said, starred by the awesome Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, a mature and sweet rom-com about chances in love life after a divorce, with a strong chemistry among its lead performers. I loved it then and I still love it now, I think it has one of the best closing scenes, one I would always remember (like Rhett Butler’s, ‘frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’).  I tried looking for Holofcener’s earlier movies, Lovely and Amazing, and Walking and Talking, but still couldn’t find them.  I really wish Holofcener would make more movies.

It sounds corny.. but you break my heart, and I’m too old for this shit

~Albert in Enough Said

On books, I am only about 1/8 away to finish Kahneman’s book, but I got really bored and somehow left the book in our house in Jogja. Maybe it’s a good thing, cos now I can slowly put my mind on other books, currently Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things and Orhan Pamuk’s Strangeness in My Mind. I also found an instagram account @elisejoy who gives very nice book recommendations and is planning to go to Big Bad Wolf next week, so I guess my reading spirit is back on.

That’s it for now. See you next month!

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January Recap

To make sure that I’ll write more in 2017, I’ll try to routinely make a recap of my days in every month, the things I do and/or experienced. So here’s my first attempt: the recap for the first month of 2017!

Books I Read

Bulan ini masih juga berusaha menyelesaikan buku Thinking, Slow and Fast by Daniel Kahneman yang mulai dibaca sejak Desember tahun lalu. Buku ini tentang cara manusia berpikir dan bias-bias yang mungkin timbul dari pikiran kita. Hampir dua bulan penuh dan belum selesai juga, haha.. Tapi memang buku ini sangat padat dan ‘bergizi’, penuh dengan berbagai penelitian dan eksperimen yang sudah dilakukan oleh para peneliti di bidang psikologi dan menghasilkan segala apa yang sekarang diketahui ilmuwan tentang bagaimana manusia berpikir.  Tapi walopun topiknya serius, buku ini ditulis dengan bagus, jadinya ga terlalu berat dan masih menyenangkan untuk dibaca. I plan to make a separate review of this when I’m done.

Movies/Series I Watched

La La Land (of course), dan berujung bingung kenapa semua orang heboh memuji-muji film ini. Fyi, saya ini sebenernya suka lho sama musikal, baik nonton langsung (on stage) maupun di film. Tapi sepanjang paruh pertama film saya ngerasa nggak dapet apa yang bikin film ini bisa masuk kategori istimewa. For me, the romance is unconvincing (no matter how much people rave and praise Ryan and Emma’s ‘chemistry’, I still feel that they were just carefully doing what the director told them to do), the conflict is such a cliché, the singing and dancing are just okay. The half end part of the movie saves it, cos there’s a twist in the end (something really interesting, finally!), and I love the scene montages combined with the dancing.

Musikal, menurut saya, harus emotionally moving. And this movie just didn’t quite do it for me. Well, katanya film ini nostalgic buat orang-orang yang familiar dengan musisi jazz legendaris dan film-film musikal lama Hollywood. Yah, kalo memang ini jualan utamanya, memang ga bakal kebeli sih di saya 😐 It isn’t bad, but it isn’t that (14 Oscar noms!) special either.

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The Girl on the Train. Tahun lalu udah baca bukunya dan berpikir premisnya menarik tapi bukunya kurang greget dan kurang dalam menggali sisi-sisi gelap para karaktenya. Agak-agak berasa, yah kok gitu aja. Mungkin karena udah beberapa kali baca thrillernya Gillian Flynn yang, gila, twisted banget, novel Paula Hawkins ini jadi berasa biasa aja. Cuman saya ngerasa buku ini bisa lebih bagus kalo difilmkan, karena toh ga perlu berpanjang lebar kata untuk bisa bikin atmosfer kelam dan twisted kan, tinggal maksimalkan rangkaian adegannya aja. Waktu filmnya keluar, rottentomatoes ngasih rating rotten dengan skor sekitar 40an %. My verdict? It’s not that bad, really. I like the overall atmosphere of the movie, and I love how Emily Blunt acted out the alcoholic Rachel. Di film, yang kurang adalah pemeran villainnya yang kurang ‘psycho’. Endingnya pun jadi berasa kurang nendang.

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(5 Episodes of) The Crown. The Crown mengisahkah tentang kehidupan Ratu Elizabeth II (iya, yang neneknya William dan Harry) sejak menikah dan kemudian menggantikan ayahnya menjadi pemegang tahta kerajaan Inggris. Merupakan serial bikinan Netflix termahal hingga saat ini dengan sinematografi, akting, dan akurasi historis yang cukup banyak dipuji. Cukup menghibur untuk ditonton dan jadi bikin penasaran dengan the actual events and characters. Apa bener peristiwanya seperti itu? Apa bener pangeran Phillip orangnya kaya gitu? And stuffs like that. Segala perspektif pribadi dalam serial ini tentu saja hanya ‘tebakan’ karena para anggota senior kerajaan Inggris terkenal sangat tertutup mengenai kehidupan pribadinya, tapi lumayan bisa jadi bumbu drama yang intriguing. Meskipun demikian, setelah 5 episode saya jadi agak bosan 😀 bakal lanjut kalo lagi senggang banget aja kayanya.

(6 episodes of) Goblin. Satu lagi yang hypenya sangat kenceng tapi saya ngerasa belom ‘dapet’ apa yang bikin K-drama satu ini sebegitu istimewanya. Gong Yoo juga udah mayan keliatan tua di sini (walopun tetep charming dan tentunya #bodygoalformen banget, seperti biasa. Sayangnya sih settingnya winter ya, jadi beliau ga pernah shirtless. #eh), masih lebih keren waktu main di Coffee Prince tahun 2007. Setelah 6 episode malah jadi kangen trus nontonin Coffee Prince lagi. But I do plan to finish this series, still. I wonder whether my opinion will change in the end.

Interesting articles

This recap. Karena belakangan ini lagi suka banget sama tema personal growth dan productivity.

How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves. Nggak sampe berpikir ingin menerapkan persis seperti dalam artikel ini, tapi ada beberapa take away principles yang saya suka.

These sleep hacks. Because I looove sleeping, I thinks it’s precious, and I really hate the times when my sleep time is disrupted.

Interesting videos

Adakah yang sama excitednya dengan saya nungguin 17 Maret, tanggal rilis Beauty and the Beast? Sebegitu ga sabarnya sampe saya donlot dan nonton ulang film animasi tahun 1991, menghayati dan ngapalin dalam hati setiap adegan, dialog dan terutama LAGU-LAGUNYA, demi bisa membandingkan dengan versi live-actionnya bulan Maret nanti. Walopun banyak yang skeptis film ini ga akan bisa menyamai aslinya, saya sendiri sincerely hoping that the remake will be EPIC! Jadi harap maklum kalo tiap hari saya hummingnya ‘Something There’ atau ‘Be Our Guest’ 😀

This video about differences via mbak Leija couldn’t be more timely and had successfully made me teary eyed. So good.

Interesting events.

Di luar kunjungan orang tua dan adik ke Jakarta di awal Januari (which was short but sweet and wonderfully made me happy) ga banyak peristiwa istimewa lain yang terjadi di bulan Januari. But that’s a good thing, karena saya jadi lebih bebas mengatur rutinitas dan ritme. I strengthened some good habits (grocery shopping, cooking, exercising, reading, work scheduling) and started some new ones (e.g. journaling) because there weren’t many disruptions in my routines. Even so, bulan Januari kemarin nggak melulu cuma terisi rutinitas biasa. Sempat juga ada episode impulsif seperti mendadak naik commuter line demi nyobain sushi curah di AEON mall 😀 as usual I try to go to places I’ve never been before, and January allowed me to do it several times.

All in all,  it was a good start for 2017 ❤

I Read: Dark Places

Setelah paceklik yang cukup lama dalam hal baca-membaca, akhirnya belakangan ini bisa nyelesein beberapa buku. Sungguh magic! Well, ada beberapa faktor pendukung sih, selain kuliah yang udah mulai jarang (gantinya adalah ngerjain tesis sih, harusnya.. tapi kan tetep butuh selingan toh yaa), perpustakaan kampus juga ternyata punya section khusus novel-novel berbahasa inggris yang bisa dipinjam dengan gratis-tis. Hence, i managed to finish some books and i even made a review in Goodreads again. So here it goes…

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Dark Places adalah novel kedua Gillian Flynn yang difilmkan (akan rilis di bulan April di beberapa negara Eropa), setelah Gone Girl yang bikin heboh itu.

Kali ini tokoh sentralnya adalah Libby Day, satu2nya survivor dari Kinnakee Kansas Farmhouse Massacre. Satu kasus kriminal di tahun 1985 yang banyak diliput media, di mana ibu dan dua saudara perempuan Libby dibantai oleh (konon) kakaknya sendiri, Ben Day. Libby yang di tahun itu baru berusia tujuh tahun, menjadi saksi di pengadilan yang mempenjarakan kakaknya untuk seumur hidup. Sejak itu Libby hidup dari bantuan para donatur yang jatuh iba dengan kisahnya, tanpa pernah menemui kakaknya di penjara, menyimpan semua kenangan tentang malam naas itu di Dark Places, sebuah sudut gelap yang tak ingin dia buka lagi. Di usia 32 tahun, Libby bukan seorang dewasa yang utuh, kehabisan uang, tanpa pekerjaan, dan kesulitan mengurus diri sendiri. Lyle Wirth dari Kill Club, klub geek-detektif amatir yang tertarik pada kasus keluarga Libby, percaya bahwa Ben Day tak bersalah dan menawarkan uang agar Libby mau menghubungi orang2 kunci yang terkait malam pembantaian keluarganya, memaksa Libby menelusuri Dark Places dan mencari tahu pelaku sebenarnya.

Dark Places diceritakan dari 3 sudut pandang, Libby Day dengan setting saat ini, serta Patty Day (ibu Libby) dan Ben Day pada hari kejadian 25 tahun yang lalu, jam demi jam mendekati waktu terjadinya pembantaian.

Sebenarnya saya lebih banyak memilih buku2 yang enjoyable untuk dibaca, makanya di awal2 baca Dark Places sempat agak kaget juga. Kisah tentang keluarga Day, bahkan sebelum dibantai, sebegitu tragis dan sedihnya sehingga bikin novel ini sangat terrorizing. Kalo lagi bad mood mungkin mending ga usah baca novel ini, bisa bikin tambah kelam dan mikir: etdah dunia ini bener2 ga ada bagus2nya! Baru kemudian saya ingat, ah iya, yang bikin kan Gillian Flynn, yang emang paling jago bikin cerita yang disturbing abis macam Gone Girl. Saking terrorizingnya, kadang sampe berasa baca dengan mata agak terpicing dan nahan napas, kuatir dengan tragedi macam apa lagi yang bakal muncul di halaman selanjutnya. Kisah jam demi jam menuju waktu kejadian di mata Patty Day dan Ben Day di beberapa bagian terasa sangat menegangkan.

Tapi pada akhirnya, ketika saya udah mulai terbiasa dengan kekelaman kisah keluarga Day, plot Dark Places ini sebenarnya semacam cerita detektif ‘whodunnit’ biasa ala Agatha Christie atau bahkan detektif Conan, walopun plotnya memang cukup menarik dan sukses bikin penasaran. Flynn menyebar petunjuk dan ‘red herring’ dengan lihai di sana sini, bikin saya kesel karena ga berhasil nebak siapa pelaku sebenarnya, padahal clue yang tersedia udah lumayan jelas 😀 Setelah tragedi demi tragedi, alhamdulillaah yaa, ternyata ending buku ini ‘lumayan’ happy, ga disturbing atau gantung, jadi ga usah kuatir ga bisa tidur setelah selesai bacanya. Plot twistnya masih ga se’kacau’ Gone Girl, jadi overall, belum seimpressive masterpiece Flynn yang satu itu.

A bit about the movie version: Libby di buku digambarkan mungil rapuh berambut merah, makanya agak heran juga kenapa Libby versi film diperankan Charlize Theron yang jangkung dan berkesan tangguh. Trailernya pun menurut saya kurang kelam, dan kurang berkesan well made, beda banget sama trailer Gone Girl yang bikin penasaraann. Mayan spoiler pulak zzz… bikin kzl! Tapi ya sudahlah ya, we’ll see. Bertabur bintang ceu! Ada Chloe Moretz sama Nicholas Hoult juga di situ. Here goes the movie’s France trailer:

flipped, once again

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Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss; but every once in a while, you find someone who’s iridescent, and once you do, nothing will ever compare.

I watched Flipped again on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and like it did before, it simply drowned me in an abundance of sweetness 🙂

Flipped is sooo well made. I love the casts, the plot, the lines, the voice-overs. And the songs! Those cool everlasting 50’s songs ❤ ❤ ❤

I recommend ‘Flipped’ for anyone who would like to reminisce over the sweet awkwardness of young love, those tingles in the stomach and the stupidities 😀

It’s also perfect to give an inspiration of what you’re really looking out there 😉